ENGAGE. ENERGIZE. INSPIRE.
Meet our 2019 keynote speakers.
Writer, activist, poet, and spoken word artist
Wednesday, May 29th | 1:30 PM
Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Walidah Imarisha is an educator, writer, public scholar and spoken word artist.
She edited two anthologies, Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements and Another World is Possible. Imarisha’s nonfiction book Angels with Dirty Faces: Three Stories of Crime, Prison, and Redemption won a 2017 Oregon Book Award. She is also the author of the poetry collection Scars/Stars.
Imarisha has taught at Stanford University, Pacific Northwest College of the Arts, Portland State University, and Oregon State University. For six years, she presented statewide as a public scholar with Oregon Humanities' Conversation Project on topics such as Oregon Black history, alternatives to incarceration, and the history of hip hop.
Poet, performer, and educator
Thursday, May 30th | 1:30 PM
Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner is a Marshall Islander poet, performance artist, educator. She received international acclaim through her poetry performance at the opening of the United Nations Climate Summit in New York in 2014. Her writing and performances have been featured by CNN, Democracy Now, the Huffington Post, NBC News, National Geographic, and more. In February 2017, the University of Arizona Press published her first collection of poetry, Iep Jāltok: Poems from a Marshallese Daughter.
Kathy also co-founded the youth environmentalist non-profit Jo-Jikum dedicated to empowering Marshallese youth to seek solutions to climate change and other environmental impacts threatening their home island. Kathy has been selected as one of 13 Climate Warriors by Vogue in 2015 and the Impact Hero of the Year by Earth Company in 2016. She received her Master’s in Pacific Island Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
Founder and President
World Trust Educational Services, Inc.
Thursday, May 30 | 8:00-9:30 PM
Shakti Butler, PhD, filmmaker and Founder and Creative Director of World Trust, is a dynamic educator in the field of racial equity. She engages her audience with participatory keynotes and seminars, often using clips from her groundbreaking documentaries.
Dr. Butler is a multiracial African American woman (African, Arawak Indian, and Russian-Jewish) whose work as a creative and visionary bridge builder has challenged and inspired learning for over two decades and has served as a catalyst for change.
Butler is the producer and director of the acclaimed documentaries, “The Way Home,” “Light in the Shadows,” “Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible,” and “Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity” which uses interviews, story, theater and music to illuminate the larger frame of structural and systemic racial inequity. Her newest film, released in January 2018, is “Healing Justice,” exploring questions about justice — What is justice, really? Why is healing such an important component of justice? How can we work towards a vibrant future where belonging, not othering, is the norm? — and asks America to talk about the causes and consequences of our current system of justice. Designed to support dialogue, this film is ideal for use in a variety of sectors – education, judicial, law enforcement, philanthropy, government, and nonprofit.
Dr. Butler is an inspirational facilitator, trainer and lecturer. Her work emerges from years of self-exploration and her commitment to social justice. Dr. Butler’s services are sought after by schools, universities, public and private organizations, and faith-based institutions.
Dr. Butler invites her audience to grapple with both the intellectual and emotional complexities of race. She conveys the interconnection between internal and external/structural components of racial inequity, and reveals how self-perpetuating systems reinforce disparities in institutions. This framing, along with the use of Butler’s films, set the context for constructive conversation. Dr. Butler inspires a collective will and develops deeper, cohesive understanding that can be directly applied to analysis and action.
A warm and compassionate person, Butler uses her ability to listen deeply while asking critical questions that support self-directed learning in others. Her speaking and teaching styles enrich people’s abilities to move toward expanded capacities for building community, an important first step in effecting change.Group dialogue, self-inquiry, reflection and whole body learning by participants are some of the strategies she employs.
Dr. Butler received her doctorate from the California Institute of Integral Studies in the School of Transformative Learning and Change. She holds an MA in Guidance and Counseling from Bank Street College of New York and graduated Magna Cum Laude from City College of New York.
Author of the critically-acclaimed novel There There
Friday, May 31st | 1:30 PM
Tommy Orange is the author of There There, a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about a side of America few of us have ever seen: the lives of urban Native Americans. One of The New York Times' top books of 2018, There There shows us violence and recovery, hope and loss, identity and power, dislocation and communion, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people. Orange talks about his craft, the writing process, and Native American history and culture, often with meticulously researched visual presentations.
Education theorist, activist, and researcher
Saturday, June 1st | 1:30 PM
Laura Rendón is nationally recognized as an education theorist, activist and researcher who specializes in college preparation, persistence and graduation of low-income, first-generation students.
Rendón is a teaching and learning philosopher and thought leader. She developed a pedagogic framework called Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking) Pedagogy that emphasizes intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual student development along with social activism.
Rendón is an active scholar whose research has been published in key education research journals. She is also the author of Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking) Pedagogy: Educating for Wholeness, Social Justice and Liberation. Moreover, she is co-editor of books and monographs including: Transforming the First Year of College for Students of Color; Educating a New Majority; Introduction to American Higher Education; and Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Higher Education ASHE Reader.
She is co-director of the Center for Research and Policy in Education in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Texas in San Antonio, which engages in research that informs the education community about critical factors that affect the academic success of key student groups.